The Habits of Happiness
When couples celebrate many years of marriage, the rest of the world wonders how they did it and whether those years have brought them happiness. Staying together is no guarantee that the relationship is a good one: some people just get into a rut. On the other hand, divorce is rife in western society, proving how easy it is to split up when things are not working out. Longevity is a clue that two people share a very special connection. What are the habits that create happiness in a union?
Talking Things Through
First of all, no two people will ever be happy all the time. They will argue, but that’s healthy. In fact, when spouses behave as though nothing is ever wrong and avoid conflict too carefully, they risk causing a bigger problem. Hurts, concerns, fears, and other negative feelings are pushed deep down but will resurface later on and when they do, the build-up of pressure will cause an explosion that could have been avoided and is likely to end the relationship.
Happy couples are honest with each other. They talk about each other’s hurtful or annoying behaviors. They never allow each other to do things that are reckless or continue with destructive behavior without addressing the problem (smoking, drinking, gambling, or overeating, for instance). When an issue rises up, they tackle it together.
It’s true that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. Happy couples have supported one another in times of difficulty. They take turns listening and opening up. If a challenge arises, they face it together and share not just the burden but the triumph. Whether one is being treated for cancer or trying to lose weight and get fit, he or she is part of a team where two people have the same goal: to share the burdens, enhance trust, provide support, and create happiness even when the situation could be a gloomy one.
A desire to clam up in the face of trial is in the nature of men especially, but sometimes women also. Instead of clearly communicating what is on their minds, these individuals bottle up worries and suspicions and let the pain come out in rude words, harsh silences, and stomping feet. The other person feels like she has done something wrong but is not given the opportunity to find out what the problem is and help to fix it or state her side of the story. In a healthy relationship, two people speak directly and clearly about what’s on their minds. They do not let trouble brew and steep, turning into bitterness and resentment.
Most of life is a routine: eating, sleeping, taking children to lessons, working, and cleaning at set times during the day and week. Taking a break from the dull and repetitive schedule helps couples remember why they got together in the first place. This is also a chance for rediscovery; a time to try new adventures and witness growth. After ten years, both parties will have matured and might entertain new interests. They will not allow date nights to become stale either. Instead of going to the same restaurant every week, sometimes they go to the bowling alley for disco night or find a scenic hiking trail for a picnic lunch in the wilderness, complete with special treats. Happy couples surprise one another in good ways.